Magnetic Island

Captain James Cook named this island in 1770 believing it caused interference with the magnets on board the Endeavour.

By the late 19th century Europeans had settled the island.

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This island has captivated us.

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Simply enchanting in mid winter.

He’s back!

Our resident kangaroo has returned for the summer.

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This time he’s made a friend – our middle cat Albert. Enjoying an afternoon relax under the weeping apricot.

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Just don’t eat the roses, mate!

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He’s such an old boy. He can sit in our garden anytime 🙂

Peppermint Gum

To my non-Aussie readers you may presume this post will tout the benefits of masticating a certain confectionery. No. Or indeed if you are crafty you may presume a perfumed, gluey substance suitable for many projects.

To my Aussie readers you will immediately visualise that tall eucalyptus specimen which abounds throughout our wide, brown land. The eucalyptus is a beautiful tree, habitat to our koala and available in many varieties: blue gum (eucalyptus globulus); yellow gum (leucoxylon); some are lemon scented and others have fascinating trunks – my favourite, the scribble gum (haemastoma) much admired on our trips to Fraser Island, off the Queensland Coast, its bark looks like a child has taken a crayon and scribbled across it.

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(meanjin.com.au)

Despite its importance to the landscape, this particular specimen, the peppermint gum has caused us many sleepless nights.

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As you can see it has a double trunk and is positioned three metre behind our bedroom! So with much deliberation and a thick cheque book, it had to go. We didn’t want to have to call the SES one stormy night. Remember what happened to our neighbour’s tree recently….

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Fortunately we have a fantastic arborist who, with his team, climb up and safely bring the tree down. Guess Mr Peppermint will have a second life as firewood!

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Let the stacking begin! Just in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t smell of peppermint at all!

Spring or Autumn Take #2

After visiting the Melbourne International Garden Show, I am again confused . Are we in autumn? Then these wonderful tulips belong to the Northern Hemisphere not Down Under. e

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This interesting contraption from fifty years ago sorts the bare bulbs into sizes. What intrigues me are the fantastic displays which are often not seasonal and brought here from thousands if miles – was this also the way in the 1960’s or were the seasons recognizable ?

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Thank goodness we finally found some maples turning to mellow yellow.

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More special arrangements to come later – stay posted! Hopefully they will be seasonal too.

Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret friend

We have a tall, dark, 6 foot stranger living in our garden. We thought we heard him a few weeks ago. We thought we saw him a few days ago. Then today, here he was staring straight at us. He kept looking at us as we stood in shock. He had never been so close before. We were a little frightened at his stillness. He was hungry and thirsty; he was big and strong. He looked straight at us today, on Valentine’s day. He even left a few deposits!

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Due to the recent bush fires in our area, kangaroos are coming closer and closer to houses seeking a little fresh grass. Colin came out to look; Whitey cat was too use smelling the flowers to notice.

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See you later big guy, but please don’t surprise me behind the camelias!

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Christmas recycled

Visiting Daughter Number Two in Sydney this weekend we came across an interesting recycling concept – Reverse Garbage. The idea is you buy household items which have been discarded by others, fill a bag or buy individually. I came across these nifty Christmas decorations.

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On man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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In our world of excess, consumerism and the lure of the new – recycling seems to make sense to me. How did we get to this point of excess? How have come to devalue things so quickly? There were dozens of people dipping into bins and coming up with treasures to take home – another life for discarded goods. More importantly though, what would otherwise be relegated to garbage dumps has a chance to be reused and readmired.

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Not sure about these Aussie thongs though!

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I must admit to a penchant for rummaging in vintage, used and second hand stores, one Daughter Two shares. Maybe we could also make our own Christmas gifts – I think I may have left it a bit late!

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Enjoy the lead up to Christmas, where ever you are.

The Light of Democracy

It always amuses us that when we go on holiday we are drawn to the historical aspects of the city or place we are visiting. As we drove through Ned Kelly country on our way here to a Canberra, we often discuss the places such as Glenrowan and their significance for our cultural heritage. Of course, when in Canberra a must see for Australians and overseas tourists alike, are the old and new Parliament Houses. They are icons of our identity.

Set parallel to one another and only 300 metres walking distance apart, the two Houses are indeed worlds apart, both in architecture and modern significance.

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I can’t really say which one I preferred. New Parliament House circa 1988, is certainly modern and thrust into the 21st Century with its bright and colourful chambers and glass and steel facade. However, what caught my eye in both Houses we the similarities in light fixtures. It is as though one looks back to the past for inspiration and knowledge whilst the other seeks to find innovation and foresight. Both “light” our democratic paths.

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These beautiful fixtures are, surprisingly, in the new Parliament House. The ones that follow are beautiful examples that reflect Old Parliament House’s 1927 Art Deco influence.

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One can imagine the historical figures of politics and royalty standing beneath these illuminated pendants.

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Indeed, both venues balance the old and the new and are tributes to the men and women who guide and led our nation in peace and in war; in times of great social change, political upheaval and national pride.

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The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays, to shape what we are and what we do. Sir William Deane, 1996. (Judge and former Governor General).

Let us now remember to see the past as an investment in our future and see our future as a beacon of hope and enlightenment.

Weird and Wonderful

As we return to Term 3, I am always grateful that we are able to get away from work – both at home and school. It always seems that school work is like house work – sometimes appreciated, greatly needed and never done!

Having returned from visiting my mother in Brisbane and planned and prepared my lessons for the next few days, I have a little time to indulge in my thoughts. Our short stay in the northern sun rendered its benefits, both physically and emotionally. As promised I now share with you some of our wacky sights.

Houses on stilts
Queensland homes are renowned for being perched on stilts. This not only provides much needed ventilation but also a safe, high aspect during floods! However, this poor house is awaiting its much needed renovation.

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World Expo ’88
Often referred to as Brisbane’s “coming of age” event. It was 184 days of spectacular, multi-national events. The following statistics are courtesy of http://www.foundationexpo88.org/trivia.html and the newly refurbished Brisbane City Council Museum.

Did you know that…..

19,000 meals were served every hour every Expo day, including…

Over 16 million scoops of ice-cream
17 million hamburgers
1.4 million hot dogs
5 million chicken nuggets
8 million buckets of hot chips
340 trawler loads of seafood
90,000 kgs of spaghetti
the equivalent of 650 family swimming pools of beer

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Some of the wacky street entertainment, above.

The Banyan Tree
More commonly known as the Moreton Bay Fig, it casts an eerie sight on the road side.

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I have to end on my favourite topics at the moment – letter boxes. See my post A Lively Letter
We enjoyed our few days, especially visiting the Queensland Art Gallery and Antiques centre and of course, chatting with mum and visiting “old” friends.

We are now back home on the Mount and preparing for some brisk weather after our soirée in the sun. To all my northern hemisphere readers – indulge in your brilliant summer!